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X-Windows: Advantages and Disadvantages

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X-Windows: Advantages and Disadvantages


Fac: Mitchell Lee

By: Victor Matos


X-Windows is a system which provides bitmapping for window displays. It runs as a program through the UNIX and Linux operating systems. X-Windows has a variety of applications that can be used but it is still limited in comparison to the applications available on the Microsoft Windows operating systems.

The main advantage that X-Windows holds is the fact that it is Open Source. By maintaining an Open Source presence on the market, users and programmers are able to collaborate and create different versions of the kernel as well as many useful applications that would otherwise be unavailable for distribution with Microsoft Windows. While many programmers can create and develop applications for use with the Microsoft operating systems, there are still limitations due to licensing and the proprietary nature of their products. (Terpstra, 2005) Through Linux these restrictions are minimal, decreasing the rate at which products are developed and published for the open market. The most popular advantage that X-windows holds over Microsoft Windows is that the desktop comes free with the OS. In fact companies like Novell which purchased SUSE allow you to purchase their desktop product for minimal cost. Essentially for a cost of $50 per desktop/annum a company can receive the license and support for a system that is reliable and not proprietary in nature. ( An X-Windows system is also more stable in that if the system crashes the system does not need to be restarted. Another advantage that X-Windows holds is the ability to display multiple desktop sessions. A user has a great advantage using this to increase their desktop space multiple times. Most versions of X-Windows on the market also provide some type of compatibility for Windows software. Xandros OS provides an application that simulates an installation environment for Microsoft, Macromedia and Adobe products. The application, called Crossover, runs in the background and then the disc is loaded much in the same way that a user would install an application in Microsoft Windows. There is an additional cost for this product but it would be a small price to pay to be able to use the applications through Linux.



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